In 1870 the building, on the corner of the High Street and Regent Street, was in use as a tobacconist. An advertisement in 1872 gave the following detail: J Coombes. Wholesale and retail tobacco, snuff and cigar merchant. Corner of Regent Street. British cigars from 5s.6d. per box. Foreign from 21s.6d. Tobaccos from 3s. per pound, fresh from factories every day. Pipes and fancy goods of every description.’ The business was still operating in 1891, with Joel Thomas named as cigar merchant.
Joel Thomas was the occupier at the premises in 1891 when it appears to have had a change of use to a licensed beer house. Mrs Underhay is recorded as the owner and she ran the un-named beerhouse free from brewery tie. The annual rateable value in 1891 was a substantial £81.10s.0d., indicative of its town centre location.
Twelve years later in 1903 the property was still owned by Mrs Underhay with an unchanged rateable value of £81.10s.0d. The lease had been taken by Flowers & Sons, brewers of Stratford on Avon. In occupation was Charles Morgan Gynne.
Flowers & Sons used the premises as an outlet for their beers. In 1926 the Stratford based brewery had secured a building in Selkirk Street for their Cheltenham stores but used the High Street building for selling their ‘ales and stout in cask and bottles for family use – prices on application’. Contemporary photographs of Cheltenham High Street clearly show advertising for Flowers Ales prominent on the Regent Street side of the building.
In a 1957 Cheltenham directory the name of the premises, now a pub, was the Continental.
Tony Hooper wrote to the ‘Gloucestershire Echo’ in May 2012 recalling the time he and his wife Glinda were licensees at the Continental in 1965/66. He described the ‘Conti’ as a remarkable pub with a big happy family. He wrote: “In our era we had a gathering of famous personalities with the Blue Moon Club being a popular entertainment centre, this included the likes of Long John Baldry and the Small Faces. Then there was the racing fraternity including Tom Dreaper, Pat Taffe and Mr Oliver, who recommended we make an investment on his mount in the first race of the Festival Meeting, Frozen Dawn, which duly obliged at 40/1.” When Tony and Glinda moved from the ‘Conti’ they ran the Three Witches in Stratford-on-Avon. The Three Witches has also long gone.
In a later reincarnation it became the Regents Bar until closure in the late 1970’s. It has now been converted to a shop – Oasis fashions.